Nigeria and Iceland will be gearing up for their crucial Group D clash knowing victory for either will leave them in with a great chance of qualifying. Argentina’s capitulation against Croatia means the European side have qualified set up a real battle for second. Nigeria are without a point after an opening game defeat to Zlatko Dalic’s men when they really struggled and the Super Eagles will expect to play much better.
Meanwhile, Iceland will be in a confident mood after a draw against Lionel Messi’s men on Saturday, with the Barcelona superstar missing a penalty. Despite that, Iceland merited their point and were very effective with the limited possession they had and looked very strong defensively.
Here we will give you Nigeria vs Iceland betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Nigeria vs Iceland prediction for the Group D encounter.
Our Nigeria vs Iceland Prediction: Nigeria 0-1 Iceland
Our Nigeria vs Iceland prediction tips is for a very tight match that Iceland edge, a result that will leave them on the brink of qualification and eliminate Nigeria in the process.
Nigeria struggled for large parts of the game against Croatia and whilst they only lost to an unfortunate own goal and a penalty, it shouldn’t hide how poor they were. They struggled to get Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi on the ball in dangerous positions and lacked any urgency and quality in their play. But, they are a young side and nerves may have played a part. Either way, they need to improve today but you simply can’t see enough quality in the side to do so.
As for Iceland, it’s amazing they are still written off by some. They qualified to Euro 2016 beating some huge nations, they then beat more huge nations at the tournament. If that wasn’t enough, they did the same getting to this World Cup and have already held Argentina. They are well organised, play for each other and have enough quality to nick a goal, whether it’s from a set-play or individual skill.
Our recommended tip – Iceland to win
As mentioned, Iceland deserve more respect because they’ve beaten top sides over the past three years and are a well-drilled, organised outfit.
Every player knows their role, they are hard to break down and they play with an energy and enthusiasm that other countries struggle to match. They face a Nigeria side who perhaps don’t have the same strong mentality and that could be telling. Iceland should cope with whatever the African country throw at them and we think they have enough to sneak a winner to claim a result that will leave them on the verge of yet another memorable achievement.
The game in Volgograd will be just the second time the sides have met, with Iceland winning the only other meeting back in 1981.
As for their recent games, Nigeria were toothless against Croatia and Kelechi Iheanacho should come in for the disappointing Odion Ighalo up top and that may give them more of a threat with his movement. Other than that, Nigeria will play the same way and they need to improve. They failed to play with real tempo, didn’t move the ball quickly and looked limited. Iceland are great at frustrating teams so that has to change if they’re to win.
The European side won’t change their approach. They will be happy to concede possession, sit in their shape but they will counter at pace and regularly as they did against Argentina. Stopping the South Americans and Messi will given them a real boost and they will believe they can get a result today.
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Players to watch – Gylfi Sigurdsson & Kelechi Iheanacho
Everton midfielder Sigurdsson wasn’t at his best against Argentina as he was starved of the ball, which will change today but you still saw glimpses of his undoubted talent. He uses the ball so well and is the man with magic in his boots in this side. Additionally, his quality from set-plays are a key weapon for Iceland too.
Our key man for Nigeria was a sub last game but Iheanacho has to come in for Ighalo, simply because he is a much better play. He will play on the shoulder, could trouble an old Iceland defence and is cool in front of goal. Service will be an issue but if he does get a chance you would back the Leicester man to score.